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INA is German family owned company, it bought another old and well known German bearing manufacturer FAG about 15 years ago... and is now actually same size or bigger than SKF
 

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If they're close, then I'll go for the dealer part as well. If they're way far apart, I'll go OE if available, and if not, then OEM if that's what's available, assuming that OEM has a good track record.
 

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Discussion Starter #43
Yep. It's all going to come down to the bearing quality. But I can tell you that the Chinese have been closing the quality gap over the the past 10 years. It used to be that in my day job, we'd stay away from Chinese bearings. But today, that is not the case. There are good inexpensive Chinese bearings... as well as total crap.

So it's a gamble on the cheaper part. It's such a PITA to get the fan out of there to service the front of the engine, I'd tend to go OEM on that part, but the fact they are both INA bearings makes me believe they meet the same spec. Maybe not.

As far as the fan belts go, I've only replaced the belt on my car ONE TIME since I purchased the car in 2007. I still can't believe it. I know it was at least 5 years ago that I did it, maybe longer. It looks good still and feels soft. It's an OEM belt purchased from my dealer. So, I'll probably just buy a new one from the dealer unless I can get an OEM version online.

On parts prices, it's a funny thing. Some things are actually cheaper through the dealer, but some things are ridiculously high through the dealer. There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to what part will be higher in price at the dealer. I always check with the dealer before buying.
 

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Discussion Starter #44
Wheels - So I've either got to get my original wheels refinished (about $800 around here) or replace them with new wheels. I want to go back to original OEM wheels, unless someone can make a good case as to why I wouldn't want to do this. And NO, I do not want to go to any low profile tires for numerous reasons. I need more mileage out of my tires than low profile can provide.

Front Grill and Chrome Molding - My front grill as a bit worse for the wear and the chrome strips are around the car as starting to look shoddy. Looks like I can get the grill and moldings from China through Ebay for less than half of what I can find them through parts suppliers. I don't know about the quality though when I purchase that way. Thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter #45
Did a little cleanup of the area. I should be able to see where it is actually leaking over some time.
RECAP - After just another 400 miles, it was pretty obvious that a small amount of exhaust gas was leaking at that triangular flange charge air pipe and intake manifold junction, especially around the rear bolt that is under the intake manifold. The only way to that bolt is from underneath. All the bolts felt a little loose, but especially that one. I torqued them all down 25% past factory spec. Hopefully that will do it. It doesn't look to be an easy job to replace that gasket. I didn't take another showing the blow-by, but it was leaking mostly near the EGR manifold coolant hose.
 

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I think that leak point is pretty common. That's the mixing chamber to intake gasket. The bolt spacing is a bit large. It's not a terribly hard job- just take some time. I did mine without draining the coolant.
The gasket is a thin stainless with a coating of teflon to "seal".

Michael
 

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Discussion Starter #47
I think that leak point is pretty common. That's the mixing chamber to intake gasket. The bolt spacing is a bit large. It's not a terribly hard job- just take some time. I did mine without draining the coolant.
The gasket is a thin stainless with a coating of teflon to "seal".

Michael
That's good information.

OK. So if I release the bolts, that gap can open up enough so you can slide out the old without total disassembly? Doesn't the old one stick? Now that I know it is a piece of metal with a coating, I don't have to worry about it tearing. Or perhaps the Teflon allows it to release. I see the tab on the gasket, which sort of says it is for holding it in place while you slide it in and insert the bolts. If it is that easy, that would be great.

I'm guessing I'll disturb the o-ring to cooler interface o-ring as well, which will probably need replaced at the same time.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #48
EDIT - I no longer need help on this heat shield. The parts guy at my local MB dealer helped me to figure it out via his exploded drawings. It is MB part number 1402710288 and it goes on the passenger side of the tranny near where the oil filler tube enters.

Help! OK, so I've pulled the underbody panel the protects the rear of the engine and transmission area. Laying in it, was a small heat shield that fell off. I see how it is supposed to attach as it has a slot in it for a piece of metal and some tabs on one edge, which is most likely how it mounts. I've attached photos of it. Maybe someone can have look under theirs and find this cover and send me a photo of where it goes?
 

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I would think twice about #12 on your list. I have the factory Harmon Kardon sound system in my 2005 E320 CDI and it sounds so good! The whole system ( cd player, gps, sirius xm,etc.) is integrated digital and does a one time conversion before or within the amplifier to convert the signal to analog to drive the amp and speakers. The Chinese Android systems have analog outputs, and a lot of people are using the optical converters so they can make their android stereos work with minimum rewiring work to the car. This means that within the car stereo there's an D/A conversion and then a A/D conversion within the optical converter and then another D/A conversion before the amplifier. All these conversions degrade the sound. It would be nice to have Google Maps on the car stereo but for me the trade off wasn't worth it. With my present system I have 44 cds of music (mp3 s) on one DVD disk and it lists and plays the music perfectly. The voice command also works well and my cell phone syncs up with no issues. The GPS works and I know it's not the easiest to use so I'll use Google Maps on my phone for the few occasions when I really need to be guided. I had a cracked screen on my command unit which I replaced myself for about $100. It's good to see that these CDIs are reliable and can go lot of miles. It looks like my CDI has just only broken in with 84,000 miles on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #50
I would think twice about #12 on your list...
...It's good to see that these CDIs are reliable and can go lot of miles. It looks like my CDI has just only broken in with 84,000 miles on it...
Thanks for the tip. This was THE very thing that I was concerned with. When you put it in 7 speaker surround mode, it's pretty amazing. I've got a 2017 GLC with upgraded sound and it isn't even close to this H-K system. But I certainly wont' change if if it isn't truly compatible as you say.

Yep, these cars go a lot of mile. Like I've said, I've reached the point where I had to make a decision. I've been in sales for about 35 years and this car is like no other I've owned. The longest I've had a car was three years before this car. Now I'm a 12 years and this car just fits like a glove and doesn't feel old;, just needs some work to bring it back up to factory spec. And that is what I decided to do. As long as you keep up on the maintenance religiously, it's going to last a very long time. Of course, if you get the black death like I did, you are going to pay handsomely to get it fixed as it is a lot of work to fix it. My suggestion - Replace the injector seals every 150K as a maintenance item.
 

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Discussion Starter #51
Refilling the cooling system - Question on tools

I've got to do the thermostat and with that, refill the cooling system. I've always just used the fill the overflow tank, start the car at idle, let it heat a bit, shut it off and let it suck it back in; doing this over and over to fill the system. Not exactly sophisticated.

So I'm looking at the service manual on how they suggest to do it and it involves a vacuum system. After looking at the method, I see the beauty of it; you certainly are going to purge all the air out without question. Of course, it requires buying yet another tool that I will rarely use; in this case a Schwaben air pure/refill system ( or similar) and a special cap for the overflow tank.

So what the opinions on this? Worth buying the tool or not?
 

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Refilling the cooling system - Question on tools

I've got to do the thermostat and with that, refill the cooling system. I've always just used the fill the overflow tank, start the car at idle, let it heat a bit, shut it off and let it suck it back in; doing this over and over to fill the system. Not exactly sophisticated.

So I'm looking at the service manual on how they suggest to do it and it involves a vacuum system. After looking at the method, I see the beauty of it; you certainly are going to purge all the air out without question. Of course, it requires buying yet another tool that I will rarely use; in this case a Schwaben air pure/refill system ( or similar) and a special cap for the overflow tank.

So what the opinions on this? Worth buying the tool or not?
Do you want to drain the cooling system because the coolant needs replaced? If you're just replacing the thermostat it sits pretty high up and you won't lose much coolant.
 

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Waiting for diesel to come to thermostat opening while idling can take forever.
I usually put 1 gallon of antifreeze, top off with distillate water and take couple of liters of distillate water with me on the road.
Once I see engine closing on 80C, I pull over and top it off again. Don't wait till engine reaches boiling temperatures.
Per mu calculations 1 gallon of antifreeze give you lower density than recommended, but I don't live in freezing temperatures.
Bare in mind coolant replacement also calls for chem pack replacement, what is integrated inside reservoir.
 

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Discussion Starter #54
Do you want to drain the cooling system because the coolant needs replaced? If you're just replacing the thermostat it sits pretty high up and you won't lose much coolant.
Granted. But even draining a gallon to keep it from spilling all over the place is 1/3 of the capacity.

BUT, it's been near 100K miles since it was changed and the system flushed, so I thought this a good time to do that as well. I'll flush it first, then change the thermostat and put in new fluid.
 

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Discussion Starter #55
Waiting for diesel to come to thermostat opening while idling can take forever...
...Bare in mind coolant replacement also calls for chem pack replacement, what is integrated inside reservoir.
Oh yes, I know it does heat slowly at idle. I do something close to what you do, but I DO live where it gets quite cold in the winter and need a 50/50 mix. When it's really cold here and I take off in the morning, I drive nearly 5 miles at highway speed before it comes up to temp. I buy antifreeze premixed so I don't have to screw with the distilled water and making sure it is 50/50. It's worth the $10 extra to save the PITA factor.

Tell me about this elusive chem pack. I see nothing at all in the STAR service manual about such a thing and I've looked extensively. NOTE - I am replacing my reservoir tank at this time, as I was taking apart the hose from it to inspect the o-ring and the connection disintegrated. Just a wee bit brittle from years of heat cycling. Grr.

I am thinking I am going to buy the vacuum tool. As I look at my other cars, I note that none of them have radiator caps anymore, so this vacuum tool could be used on my other cars as well. The vacuum method has certainly got to be a lot more foolproof for getting all the air out than the heating it up and letting it suck back in method. I note there are cheapo Chinese vacuum tools on Amazon, but who knows how well those work. It's something I'm going to use once every other year and that is about it, so I don't need the highest quality, but it does need to work.
 

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Discussion Starter #56
A small snag - The 210589009100 radiator pressure test cap alone costs over $75! And I haven't found an alternative. A vacuum kit is worthless without this adapter cap.

BUT, I did find a universal vacuum kit (Chinese no doubt) that contains a compatible cap, PLUS is contains a pressure pump for pressure testing the cooling system. And it will fit my other vehicles. This cheapo kit may be worth the risk.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/28-PCS-Radiator-Pressure-Tester-Vacuum-Type-Cooling-System-Refill-Kit-W-Case-New/264160737779?epid=6028395904&hash=item3d8134f9f3:g:JSQAAOSwqrZcUjy6
 

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All MB I know about have self-purging cooling system. Only issue is solid thermostat.
The chem pack is part of 15 years coolant life, where the same coolant in older car with no pack have 2 years intervals.
I read here that some aftermarket reservoirs come with no pack, so it is worth buying MB part.
If you have pressure gauge on your garage shelf, it is easy to build your own test kit, using the small bleeding hose.
Small Tee you can buy with universal vacuum kit, some hose and connector.
I build something like that for my 6l Powerstroke and drove with it permanently since the engine had weak head bolts.
 

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Discussion Starter #58
All MB I know about have self-purging cooling system. Only issue is solid thermostat...
...The chem pack is part of 15 years coolant life... I read here that some aftermarket reservoirs come with no pack, so it is worth buying MB part.
...If you have pressure gauge on your garage shelf, it is easy to build your own test kit, using the small bleeding hose. Small Tee you can buy with universal vacuum kit, some hose and connector...
Self-Purging cooling system - Not according to the Mercedes Tech at my dealership. He said it will work it's way out eventually, but takes watching the reservoir level and screwing around. (As we already discussed.) I've already pulled the trigger on the vacuum/pressure test system anyway. Since I couldn't find the pressure test lock cap for less than $75, the kit I bought just makes sense. From what I've read on using these, it makes is VERY easy and FAST to change coolant and to be 100% sure there is no air in the system. Assuming this cheapo Chinese version I bought works OK, I think it's money well spent, as I can use it on my other cars as well. And it comes with a pressure tester too. For its $90 cost, I don't have to screw around with fabricating anything or finding a cap and can follow the factory procedure.

I'm not sure where you got this info on a "chem pack". Today I bought a replacement reservoir straight from my local dealership and had a discussion with the tech about a chem pack. There is no chem pack and never was according to the MB tech. He says it is just a plastic tank. And also keep in mind that the STAR service manual makes no mention of needing a service life on the reservoir or changing it when you change the fluid. If it is not in the STAR manual, I'm pretty certain it doesn't exist.

One thing I can guarantee you is that coolant life is not 15 years, even if you do some chem pack or additives. Zerex G-05 has a 5 year/150K mile life for passenger cars under normal duty per Valvoline's spec. What happens is that the additives oxidize over time due to breathing and heat cycling, plus water escapes very slowly. Even if you did do some additives or chemical pack, it is not worth it to try to push any hydraulic or coolant fluid 15 years. We're talking about $50 in fluid every 5 years and an hour of time.
 

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^^ Same here.

@smyers, if you want to change the coolant, consider using Motive's 2-gallon-tank pressure bleeder. Runs about $100, shipped. That's what I use on all my Benzes to first flush the system with distilled water, then fill it with a 50/50 mix of coolant. It's rather easy to use and does a fine, quick job; once the car's warmed up, I can have the system flushed and exchanged in about 15-20 minutes.

The particular model that I use is the Motive 1745.

For the adaptor cap, I use one of the big, rubber, cone-shaped ones. It actually holds surprisingly well even at +30 PSI, though I typically run it at 15 PSI. Yes, the cone works well on Benzes, too.
 
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